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New servers, changes to policy in wake of malware attack

The Oak Ridge City Council unanimously approved $171,270.81 for two new servers to replace ones hit by a recent malware attack.

The vote came at the council’s May 8 meeting, with a resolution explicitly stating the servers were necessary in the wake of the attack. The funding is from the federal American Rescue Plan, not from local taxpayers. Oak Ridge Electric Director Ardo Ba has said the attack occurred March 20.

During the time for citizen comments, Oak Ridge resident Mike Mahathey said where he worked anyone accepting a phishing email is “fired on the spot.”

“It’s an embarrassment to the city as well,” said Mahathey. “Let’s learn from it and do better in the future.”

“This had nothing to do with employees messing up,” City Council member Ellen Smit said in response, although she did not give additional details.

Help with bills and rent

The City Council also voted unanimously to expand the help residents can get from the city partnership Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties with rent, mortgages and utilities.

While before ADFAC could only give $500, the city expanded it to up to $800.

A city memo stated this funding will come from the city’s general fund. ADFAC requested the change in a letter to the city based on the rising cost of “basic living expenses” such as rent, utilities and food.

City staff, in a memo, said the new policy will help people who are receiving two utility bills in a short amount of time due to the delay from the malware attack.

Library update

Many of Oak Ridge Public Library’s services are back, including placing holds on materials, interlibrary loans, requests for purchase, and reference appointments. However, public computers and the library website aren’t back yet after the malware attack.

At present, you can still access the library’s catalog, which now serves as an impromptu webpage. It still gives access to the library’s holdings, but it also now contains information about upcoming events and programs, online services, and links to interlibrary loan, request for purchase and reference appointment forms.

You can access the catalog at

If you have questions or need assistance about the library, call 865-425-3455